Craft Bazaar and Light Parade Dazzle in West Wendover

By Dianna Troyer

Frank Sharp and Brenda (wearing a holiday helper costume)
Frank Sharp with Brenda Claiborne.

After moving to town in the fall of 2016, Brenda Claiborne decided something was missing from West Wendover’s holiday celebrations.

There was the festival of Christmas trees, the city’s tree-lighting ceremony and an appearance by Santa on the city’s fire trucks, but Brenda felt one more dazzling event was needed to brighten the season.

“In Missouri where I grew up, many little towns had Christmas parades that were held in the evening, so I hoped the community here would enjoy one too,” she says. “Whatever the holiday, I’ve loved parades my entire life, especially seeing the community spirit that goes into each and every parade entry.”

In 2017, Brenda teamed up with West Wendover Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization and hosted West Wendover’s first Craft Bazaar and Winter Lights Parade.

“Wherever we’ve lived, I’ve always been passionate about volunteering, mentoring and connecting with the community,” Brenda says.

parade float Brenda is a real estate agent and the community manager at Santiago Wendover Estates—a manufactured housing community in West Wendover that provides new affordable housing. “This has become my favorite event of the year,” she says. “Our community gets super excited. In early fall, people start asking our planning committee when we are having it.”

When naming this year’s celebration, the planning committee was inspired by Olaf—the comical snowman from Pixar’s “Frozen.” They settled on “Olaf ’s Adventures in Wendover—Annual Craft Bazaar & Light Parade.”

The bazaar will be at the elementary school the evening of December 4. The parade begins at 6 p.m. December 13 at the West Wendover Welcome Center.

“At the bazaar, vendors sell all types of handcrafted items along with food and drinks in the school gymnasium,” Brenda says.

Parade entries are as varied as participants’ imaginations. “We have floats, decorated cars and trucks, firetrucks and horses,” Brenda says. “We get more entries every year, and we should have about 20 this year.”

Wells Rural Electric Co. will showcase its neon green Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid car. Last year, WREC Community Outreach Director Layla Walz dressed up like a Who from Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and rode in the car.

“I love to see the kids’ faces light up as we drive by and toss candy,” she says.

Brenda says business support is key to hosting community events. Each year, a business volunteers to sponsor the celebration, enabling the committee to buy trophies for first, second and third place parade entries, banners and other items needed for the parade.

people in Santa hats standing in front of the Grinch float
A float celebrating Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was a popular attraction at last year’s parade. Photo courtesy of Brenda Claiborne

The business’ employees are spotlighted as the parade’s grand marshals. This year’s sponsor will be The Resorts at Wendover, which includes the Rainbow, Peppermill and Montego Bay.

“There are some amazing people in our community,” Brenda says. “Frank Sharp was one of the first people I met here. He’s so big-hearted and has a genuine love for helping the unfortunate and forgotten.”

WREC Community Outreach Director Layla Walz and daughter Evelyn at last year’s parade with WREC’s plug-in hybrid car. Photo courtesy of Brenda Claiborne

Frank established the nonprofit JAS Foundation to honor his late wife. It supports a senior center, a food bank, and a thrift store and resource center.

Brenda says seeing the community come together is a holiday gift for her.

“It’s a chance for us to build stronger bonds with each other,” she says.

Along with organizing the event, Brenda cannot resist being in the parade too.

“There’ll be a few surprises this year, so come and see for yourself what they will be,” she says.

To become a vendor at the bazaar, contact Gala Salgado at 435-9197482. The parade lineup begins at 5 p.m. at the West Wendover Welcome Center, and the parade starts at 6. The parade will head west on Florence Way and end at West Wendover Elementary.

Northern Nevada Christmas Events

  • The Wells Tree Festival is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. December 2-5 at the town’s swimming pool complex.
  • The Community Christmas Walk in Wells is slated for December 3. Participants will meet at 6 p.m. at Elton Pavilion in the city park and visit local churches to hear short programs. Holiday refreshments will be at the last church.
  • Carlin will host Sugar Plum Square and a light parade at 6 p.m. December 7. It starts at Scott’s Market and goes to the senior center where Santa awaits. Mini trees and wreaths will be sold to raise money for the senior center, the library and The Center for Healthy Families.
  • Starr Valley children will perform a holiday program at the Progressive Club at 6:30 p.m. December 21. The younger children will present the nativity. Older kids will perform an original play titled “Christmas Gifts.”